How far did the magi travel to see Jesus?

The Bible tells us that the Magi’s journey started from the East.

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem” (Matthew 2:1).

Because the Bible doesn’t give us the exact location from where the Magi started their trip, we can’t know for sure how far they traveled.

The Jews considered the area of northern Arabia, Syria, and Mesopotamia as the “east.” There are several references in the Old Testament to the word “east.” The city of Haran was located in “the land of the people of the east” (Gen. 29:1, 4). And the king of Moab brought Balaam “from Aram [that is, Syria], out of the mountains of the east” (Num. 23:7; ch. 22:5). Also, the prophet Isaiah spoke of Cyrus, the Persian, as “the righteous man from the east” (Isa. 41:2) and “a ravenous bird from the east” (Isaiah 46:11). So, the “east” constituted a vast area in Mesopotamia.

Some have thought that the wise men were from the same section of the “east country” as was Balaam, whose home has recently been identified with the Sajûr Valley between Aleppo and Carchemish, which is located near the Euphrates (Num. 22:5). If this was true, then the magi trip to Bethlehem would have been around 400 miles long. This would have taken them approximately two to three weeks on the camels or around a month journey by foot. But if we assume that they traveled by night to be able to be guided by the star, this would mean that their journey would have taken even longer time.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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